Saturday, February 11, 2012

Play Time

Playing with big-little boys is very different from playing with little-little boys or babies. With little ones, my days were full of small interactions. Read "Goodnight Moon" or "The Big Red Barn". Stack a tower of blocks for him to knock over. Build a train track out of Brio. Round up the cars and trucks and turn on the water for "car wash" time. Little boys have short attention spans, and my interactions with them were often comparably short.

It isn't that way anymore. Now we're reading chapter books with Jonathan, and Thomas asked to start his own chapter book this morning as well. "Mommy, will you help me build this lego set?" means nearly an hour spent hunched over an instruction manual, searching for miniscule pieces that (I'm assured) will eventually become something "really awesome!" Games are also longer: Josiah will play Candyland for 30+ minutes; Jonathan and Thomas will play Sorry for twice that long. I put my foot down when they wanted to start playing Risk - no five hour games for this mama, no thank you!

(Board games - even short ones - are a cross that I have to regularly offer to Jesus. I can't stand them.)

There are wonderful things that come with these growing-up playtimes. Snuggling while reading together can be one of the best parts of the day. And I love seeing the focus and the creativity that abounds during lego play. Yet there is difficulty for me in this change of daily pacing. It can be hard to turn away from whatever I'm doing (laundry, dishes, my own book!) when I know that it won't be a short interaction, but rather an hour devoted to something that probably wasn't on my mental agenda. Setting my plans aside to be really present with my boys for extended play is a new kind of sacrifice of self, and I'm not very good at it yet. But it feels like the kind of thing that God is using to grow me up, too.

1 comment:

Amber said...

I have seriously considered cheating at Chutes and Ladders (in their favor, not mine!) to just. Make. The. Game. End!!! I do admit that I don't put Lego stuff together for them. Either they do it, Emma does it, or it doesn't get done. I try to block out 30-45 min in the morning and an hour in the afternoon several times a week for longer stuff like this and say no at other times. So long as I keep up the regular times, they don't seem to mind me saying no at the odd moments when they ask and I really need/want to be doing something else.